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Old 07-20-2015, 09:00 PM   #43
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On way to JC We had a spot in WI State park over Memorial Day - got out of the car to check in and tons of mosquito bites. Decided no way and drove on to Wisc Dells where near 11:00 stayed at Cracker Barrell - said I would never do that - nice screen of shrubs - cameras everywhere so felt secure - we were only ones in lot - perfect breeze and great night sleep! Spent the fee money on breakfast and on road early. Next night KOA in Indiana - super hot so appreciated full hook ups - all was fine until the bozos in the big rig hooked up the outdoor home theater and everyone got in on the sporting events. With more and more rigs having outdoor Theatres it's going to get even tighter - why don't these people save the trouble of 'camping' and stay home!

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Old 07-20-2015, 10:43 PM   #44
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Originally Posted by slowmover View Post
Preconceptions, newbie. Those with school age children are often glad of a "resort".
Hey I really enjoyed the "community" feel for the two weeks we spent at Virginia Highland Haven Airstream park.

We just recently, and regrettably stayed at a KOA for one night after boon-docking for 2 weeks. I thought, it'd be nice for the kiddo's and us. Full hookups, laundry, showers, a pool, hayride.

Everything was a disappointment and I'll leave it at that.

Family of 5 exploring the USA with a Ram Power Wagon & Airstream in tow.
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Old 07-21-2015, 09:32 AM   #45
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KOA is hit and miss. Always has been. Even forty or more years ago when it was far more popular. There a thread or two around here and on WOODALLS. A few locations worth bookmarking.

That said, I don't disagree. I was pointing the use of a "resort" near a metro area to make all the other work of being on the road more convenient. In this, the type is hard to beat.

Scenic national park, COE, truck stop or resort: all can be used in trip planning to advantage.
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Old 07-21-2015, 09:58 AM   #46
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Occupancy levels mean a lot in the enjoyment of a campground.

In addition to a Parks natural setting one thing that has always been just as important to us in a campground is space - and it is space that is sorely lacking in pretty much every RV Park. The only time we've ever really felt anywhere close to comfortable in an RV Park is when the place was 3/4 empty ..... KOA's are a case in point - there are two that we will use in Northwestern Ontario when on the road - both not bad places (for one night) when sparsely occupied - both places of just plain misery when they are full .....

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Old 07-21-2015, 12:37 PM   #47
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Pretty much of a RV campground kind of guy. I have noticed this year that many are much fuller then last year. Even had difficulty getting into a couple because they were over booked.
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Old 07-21-2015, 01:21 PM   #48
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Is there a good campground book that actually highlights the FS and National Park Campgrounds? When we are traveling, I like to work from printed material and the camping books we have found give little or no information on anything but the big overpriced private campgrounds.
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Old 07-21-2015, 06:33 PM   #49
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I have a copy (older one, but still quite good) that is a paper back... The Coleman National Forest Campground & Recreation Directory. Spendy, but I think it is a very valuable tool, mine is pretty dog eared but still works!

Coleman National Forest Campground and Recreation Directory: The Only Complete Guide to All National Forest Campgrounds: Our Forests Inc.: 9780762707874: Books
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Old 07-22-2015, 12:50 AM   #50
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Originally Posted by AirSkeen View Post
Is there a good campground book that actually highlights the FS and National Park Campgrounds? When we are traveling, I like to work from printed material and the camping books we have found give little or no information on anything but the big overpriced private campgrounds.
No doubt I'm missing such a book or app, but what I recommend is that when you plan your route, look for public lands where you are going-- these should be on the state highway map or road atlas.

National and state parks and forests, as well as BLM (Bureau of Land Management) districts, should have websites that you can look up. I find the NPS camping info sometimes to be hard to locate on their park websites, but it's there with persistent hunting. You can even phone the BLM district office and ask for their recreation specialist, for info on dispersed camping in their area. Most national forests pretty much allow dispersed camping anywhere that it's not posted otherwise. However, in both types of places, not everyplace along the road is suitable for camping, so it's good to check ahead.

There will be primitive camp grounds along bumpy dirt roads and in places where I wouldn't want to haul our AS, so it's good to check ahead with a real person on the phone. Ditto if it's a shoulder season at a high elevation, to see if there's snow there.

Also, if it's in an area you hope to revisit, you may wish to stop at the district US Forest Service or BLM office, and ask for a map of their national forest or district. It should show the campsites.

This does take a little homework, but it's worth it to escape the slab cities that big RV parks have become. If you know where you are going next and start a new thread asking for advice on back roads camping, the locals here will probably help you with suggestions.
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Old 07-22-2015, 03:41 AM   #51
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Lennox, SD, City park
Trinidad Lake State Park, Trinidad, CO,
KOA, Kissimmee, FL
All wide open, cost nearly nothing in Lennox, yet 50 Amp, oh, I can name several more.

I think it is like finding the mom & pop motels....lots of time in Internet researching, making phone calls, reviewing lots of opinions.

What I consider important:

Negative reviews, particularly about staff.
Concerns about cleanliness
Electrical issues
Dirt, meaning the pad construction
All reviews in past six months, are IMO, the important ones.

Of course if one wants to be mean spirited, go over to a big Moho and say, "any problems" and then grab your cell phone like you have a call and walk away.....LOL......wait, that is too mean, those folks have enough problems simply by having one of those four slide, four television, washer/dryer, eight wheeled monsters where you cannot even have a window at the head of your bed....

But, there are many state and national parks with the old flavor of "camping out" less the idea total luxuries of a house on a foundation. I mean, that is what is so nice about a shower in an AS, no mistaking it for the one at my home base.....

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Old 07-22-2015, 07:37 AM   #52
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The problem with printed guide books is that things change. The books may or may not get updated. All federal/state park and forestry agencies have very good websites. Information gets updated regularly.

Do you know what a learning experience is? A learning experience is one of those things that says "You know that thing that you just did? Don't do that."
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Old 08-10-2015, 03:25 PM   #53
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Almost without fail, our little 15' overall riveted aluminum airframe trailer from the 'fifties is the smallest (and oldest) -- and frequently the shiniest -- in the RV Park. We're just passing through so I really don't care; I'm there for the showers, the hookups, the 120VAC for recharging, the handy laundry, the convenient location, etc. I've noticed increasingly older 5th wheels and bigger travel trailers are full-time housing, not vacationers, in RV parks, especially the less expensive parks, the county RV parks (at fairgrounds, generally.) When we used to do the big Pismo Beach, CA vintage trailer rally (300+ trailers) I noticed how RV parks are becoming, as you have said, parking spots in effect for the big Class A juggernaut motorhomes, where in the evening, families sit around inside illuminated by the glow of their flatscreens. (Insert "Fireplace" DVD here.)

Recently we added solar-charging capability (200 watts photovoltaic; 200Ah battery bank) with a mind to not being tied to shore power every fourth day as I have been for years. Boon docking is the best way I know of for a trailerist to time-travel back to their childhood when camping didn't mean RV Resorts...

"Of the gladdest moments in human life, methinks, is the departure upon a distant journey into unknown lands... A journey, in fact, appeals to Imagination, to Memory, to Hope,—the three sister Graces of our moral being.’
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Old 08-11-2015, 01:42 PM   #54
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Originally Posted by RickDavis View Post
We NEVER use private parks unless it is a rally .
We have noticed the Much nicer and more spacious sites like the Forest Service and other agencies provide are less and less used as people become so hook up dependent.
Our camping bill for 2 months in FL was $10. not counting 2 rallies we attended.

We just spent 5 weeks in New Mexico and other than the VAC pre rally and the International we had no hook ups. I would not trade any of the sites we used for a free night in a resort park
Please, please, PLEASE tell me how I can winter in FL this way without spending $1500/month at a typical RV campground near the beach.
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Old 08-11-2015, 02:15 PM   #55
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We tried full-timing once before, naively. It was awful for two primary reasons: 1) the SOB wasn't made for full-timing, and 2) we were stuck in horrible RV parks.

We are wilderness type people, backpacking, long-distance hikes, etc. and figured buying an RV would allow us to spend more time in nature. Boy, were we wrong. It tethered us to campgrounds like a ball and chain.

This time around, we're building out our 79' Argy for full-time boondocking.

It's a challenge, for sure. Lots of planning and $ to do it right, but I'm sure it'll pay off.

I think the future for us "little guys" is more off grid.

Technology in solar, waste management, communications, and water purification and storage is making it more feasible to be disconnected from the over-sized, over-crowded, hectic way of life that is prevalent in RV parks now too.
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Old 08-11-2015, 05:19 PM   #56
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I may be too easy going, but I can see both sides of the coin in terms of RV locations.

My wife and I are happy in big commercial RV parks amongst the motorhomes and fifth wheels and all the amenities, and we are also happy in State / Provincial National parks with or without hookups. In fact sometimes it is nice to have some of both on one trip.

If we had to choose, I would probably say we would opt for the fully equipped RV Resorts - although they are not really good value for money for us really as we rarely use all the facilities.

Much as we enjoy the relative simplicity of our trailer, I have no disparaging remarks for the huge motorhomes. In fact a few times I have come very close to making a decision to sell the AS and splurge on nice new Class A with all the bells and whistles - especially as we are getting up in years and I imagine they are less physically demanding.

But when I go through one of those phases, even though we are fortunate enough that the $ to buy one would not be a major impediment, I always conclude that it just would not be money well spent in our case, as we would not use it nearly enough to warrant the expenditure.

Whether we could afford it or not, I don't like to throw $$ away foolishly!

Generally we use our trailer about 7 weeks in the winter and maybe a week or two in the summer and that's it.

We both feel that after 7 weeks to escape the Canadian winters, we are ready and looking forward to heading home! I would not be adverse to trying full timing perhaps as an interim stage when we downsize from our present home at some point, but when I have brought up the possibility, my wife will not hear of it .... so that's that!

As well, I have always liked to be fairly self-sufficient in doing my own RV maintenance.

There's enough that manages to go wrong with our simple Airstream, let alone all the subsystems on an elaborate motorhome.

And I tend to be a bit of a perfectionist. For me, everything has to work as it is supposed to, and if it does not, I cannot rest until it does not!

I suppose I would just have to be at the mercy of the RV repair shops with a class A. Heck, at about 145 pounds wringing wet I doubt I could even change a tire on one of those suckers!

So, although I would never say never, so who knows, most likely we will finish our RV'ing career with the Airstream, camping and enjoying both state parks and the fancy RV resorts (and sometimes the more sleazy TV parks!)

Nothing at all wrong with that .... but I will still be somewhat envious of the big motorhome parked next to us that just doesn't make sense for us!


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